Sunday, August 21, 2016

Campobello Vacations - Head Harbour Lightstation

Photos taken on August 12, 2016
One of the iconic landmarks on Campobello Island is the Head Harbour Lighthouse (build in 1829.) It is in a stunning location on a tiny chunk of rock off the coast of Campobello. From shore, you can just get a snippet of a view. Of course, we initially photographed it on day 1 of our trip under a partly cloudy sky as the tide was rising. (Oh yes, I almost forgot...Drew saw a minke whale swimming offshore;-)
Photos of Drew as he traversed the first sandbar to the ladder of
the first island. After that, I lost him in the fog.
In order to see the entire light station, you have to take a hike. And, that is what Drew did on our last full day of vacation, this August. Unfortunately, we were socked in by heavy fog all day long, but that didn't deter this intrepid lighthouse seeker from hiking over to take a peek. Drew had never been inside of a lighthouse, and this has always been a goal of his. We hightailed it to the far tip of Campobello just after low tide. Drew had a 4 hour window of time to explore; and explore he did. Unfortunately, due to having walked a couple of miles on an uneven cobble beach, my knees were too trashed to handle scrabbling over seaweed-slick rocks and climbing up and down steep ladders.
A Google Earth view of Drew's trek.
We didn't know that there are three little islets offshore, or that the lighthouse was situated on the last one. 

Check out these aerial views of the lightstation via an aerial drone camera, that someone posted on YouTube. Awesome! This gives you a great view of just where Drew walked through, although with the tide up, you cannot see the little sandbars and rocks he crossed to get to the final island.
The top ladder is the first one that people have to climb up to island # 1.
Then, there is a lovely little path that traversed island # 1.
There is a bridge that crosses over to island # 2.
Drew couldn't believe the pathway through the boulders and the ladders that people had to climb. 
Super steep ladder going down island # 2
Walking through seaweed strewn boulders to island # 3.
(I talked with one young woman, after she returned early, and she said that she didn't realize what horrible physical shape she was in as the trek was very challenging.) Drew loved every minute of it, but said that if this had been on U.S. soil that it probably wouldn't have been allowed for legal purposes.  
Head Harbour Lighthouse was in great shape. There was a tour guide (a 10th grader) who was quite knowledgable. Everyone was allowed to roam around the outside of the outbuildings. By the way, did you know that the red cross was painted on the east side of the lighthouse tower as a day marker for ships sailing in that part of the Bay? Cool...
A mother was covering her son's ears as the foghorn sounded.
And, as it was incredibly foggy out, the foghorn was sounding approximately every minute. Some people stood on the cement pad for the full blast effect. Crazy!
Listen to Drew's recording of the Class-C diaphone fog signal! Click here to read a fascinating history of fog signals by the United States Lighthouse Society.

Some of the rooms were incredibly tiny.
Drew was the only tourist to plunk down an additional $10 for a private tour inside the lighthouse. Sweet! First, he got a tour of some of the living quarters inside the light-keeper's house. Period pieces were put into the house to simulate what the lighthouse keeper would have had for comfort. Notice that the ladder up to the light was just a short walk from the kitchen!
The lamp is a third-order fresnel lens. 
The original lens (bottom right) was broken when a bulb
was changed, not too long ago.
And, then it was time to climb the tower! Drew and the tour guide went to the top where the light was glowing. The guide said that the lightstation is in contact with another light somewhere out in the Bay of Fundy. When the two stations no longer have contact with each other, due to fog, their foghorns start sounding. It is all automated nowadays. Click here for a great description of the different orders of Fresnel lenses.

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